The ongoing pandemic has taken two parents away from a Richardson family after they both fell ill late this year and died less than a month apart. Their daughter, meanwhile, remains hospitalized battling coronavirus.
Rodrigo Cruz died in September, less than a week after falling ill with COVID, and less than two days after going to the hospital. His wife, Jasmine also got COVID and died a month later at Methodist Richardson Medical Center.
"He was afraid the vaccine might actually do more harm than good," Cruz's brother, Luis Cruz, explained. "His birthday was Sept. 13. To think that 17 days later he was going to pass, you couldn't fathom that."
Cruz's oldest daughter, 24-year-old Daniella Cruz, also got COVID-19. She's been at Methodist Richardson Medical Center since early October, sedated and on a ventilator. The family said Daniella was half-vaccinated when she got COVID. They planned to wait until she's stronger to tell her about her mother's passing.
"We pray every night and we talk to the doctors and we tell them that we're praying for them, for God to give them wisdom and guidance," Daniella Cruz's aunt, Anna Rodriguez said. "You take it one day at a time."
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Rodriguez is caring for the Cruz family's youngest children, Rodrigo Alejandro and Helena.
"There is one Bible verse that says joy comes in the morning, so I tell them it's OK to cry. There's a new beginning you get to write," Rodrigues said. "My belief is that God doesn't give you more than you can handle."
A neighbor helped set up a GoFundMe account to help the two youngest Cruz children, who will spend their first Christmas without their parents.
"This year will obviously be harder for the kids, and it's just showing the kids we're here," Cruz said.
Rodriguez said her brother, Rodrigo, was always the first person to help someone in need. Now his efforts are coming full circle.
"It's amazing to see how everything that they did, it's coming back to help their kids," Rodriguez said.